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Aether Beasts

Chapter 24 - 24

Chapter 24 - 24

My aunty looked down at me with a frown on her face, but I could see a glint of pride in her eyes.

She sighed. "You won. That boy, Lucas, and the girl defeated the last member of the other team. I"m not happy about what you did, but I understand. I"d say don"t do it again, but knowing you it would fall of deaf ears."

I smiled, feeling a wave of relief and joy wash over me, not just my own but Zirani"s as well. We"d won. My crazy plan had actually worked and we"d won. I wanted to shut in joy, but my throat was a little dry.`

"Can I get some water please?" I asked in a rough voice

"Here," Deon said, handing me a bottle of water which I drained in seconds. "You did well, and I can"t say I"ve ever seen anything like that."

"Indeed," Elder Samuel replied. "You"ve made the sect proud, and your prizes are well earned."

Lucas and Sandra who were nearby nodded.

"I think it"s obvious you get first pick of the prizes," Lucas said and Sandra nodded in agreement. They both looked fine, though Lucas"s robes looked torn to hell.

"Zirani we did it," I said mentally, pride clear in my voice.

"You did," She said, her voice a mix of emotions. "And I couldn"t be more proud and happy with my decision to become your first aether beast. I guess you"ll be getting your reward after all."

My face heated as I remembered what she said she would give me if I won, but before I could respond, Deon pulled me to my feet and set me in a line with the other two before turning to the crowd.

"The victors of this match and tournament stand before you. Aiden, Lucas, and Sandra of the steel heart!"

The steel heart section of the crow roared with applause and cheers, and to my joy so did the people of West Vale. They must have been happy that one of their own had made it this far and had actually won.

"You"re healed, but please take it easy for a few hours," Jenna said. "And I expect you to be home before nightfall. I know you"re leaving but not until tomorrow."

I nodded and after a quick hug, she left.

"I"ve already collected the prizes," Elder Samuel said. "But let"s go somewhere more private. I would love to see the look on their faces when they see me handing you the prizes, but I don"t think they"re noble enough to not try something."

We nodded and followed him back to the camp, some of the steel heart disciples following while others stayed behind, cheering and directing smug looks at the twin horn, not that there were any left. Apparently, most, including their elder, had left after our victory.

We made our way to the largest tent in the camp, which was the elder"s residence and his study, full of much higher quality furnishings than I"d seen in any of the other tents, though nothing overly expensive-looking, although the double-sided spear in one corner looked like quite the treasure, long, and glowing with an inner light. It was clearly a weapon that had been enchanted using aether runes.

"So which prize do you want, Aiden, the first place elixir that will help you grow faster, the enchanted bracers, or the seed."

"The seed," I answered, without any hesitation. This had been the reason I"d joined the sect and fought as hard as I had.

His eyebrow rose. "The seed, I suppose it makes sense since your first core is of the nature affinity. Very well, here you are, you"ve more than earned it and you should expect a few other rewards when we return to Orton."

He handed me a simple box, before turning to the other two. I ignored the rest of what he said, instead, focusing on the box and gently opening it. There inside stood a small brownish seed covered in bluish spots. It didn"t seem like the remarkable treasure that Zirani had said at first and I wondered if she"d been mistaken, but then I spotted a slight ripple, so faint that if I hadn"t been focused on it I wouldn"t have noticed it.

"You"re only able to see that because you have the compatible affinity. That means before us no one with the nature affinity saw it. We"re lucky."

I closed the box and turned back to the elder, bowing low. "Thank you elder, I look forward to seeing the sect in Orton."

He smiled. "And I look forward to seeing what else you are capable of. I never expected to find such a talented youth in a small town like this."

I said my goodbyes to the other two, who had both chosen their prizes. Lucas had chosen the bracers while Sandra had gone for the elixir. They both looked pleased so there probably hadn"t been any arguing.

The walk home was peaceful and relaxing, and I actually got stopped a few times by people who wanted to congratulate me. It felt odd, but also nice to know my hard work had paid off.

I made it home, but my aunt wasn"t there, and I knew she was probably working. She took her job as a healer very seriously. I took a quick shower, noting that Zirani was very quiet. Was she thinking about the same thing I was? I felt my cheeks heat, and I tried to clear my mind of the perverse thighs that wanted to flood it.

I"d think about that later when we were in my room. I finished up in the shower and dressed quickly before heading down to the living room with the seed in tow.

I placed it down on the kitchen table. I felt Zirani"s excitement through our bond and for now, all thoughts of her prize were gone, replaced by thoughts of this treasure.

"So, what do we do?"

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